It’s difficult to believe, but your driver’s license could be suspended even before you attend court about your driving under the influence charge. How? This is called an administrative driver’s license suspension. An administrative suspension is different from the suspension you may receive if actually convicted of DUI. If you have been arrested for DUI, you must act quickly to avoid administrative suspension.
When an officer arrests someone for drinking and driving, he should first read the Georgia Implied Consent Notice and then request that the driver take a chemical test. In Georgia, the Intoxilyzer 5000 is the machine that is used for breath tests.
Whether you take the breath test and fail or refuse to take the breath test altogether, the officer must submit a report to the Department of Public Safety to start an administrative license suspension hearing. This is separate from a criminal hearing and is conducted by the Office of State Administrative Hearings.
You have ten business days from the date of your arrest to request an administrative hearing. If you do not request a hearing within ten business days, your license will automatically be suspended.
Refusing to take the breath test will certainly result in tougher penalties than taking the test and failing. If you do not request a hearing within ten days, your license will be suspended on the 31st day following your arrest. Depending on your record, your license can be suspended for one to five years.
If you refuse to take a breath test, you will be automatically disqualified from receiving a limited driving permit, a permit that would allow you to drive to and from work. You may also be disqualified if you request a hearing within the ten-day window and lose your appeal. There is only one way to have the suspension undone, and that is by winning at trial or pleading to a charge other than DUI, such as reckless driving.
If you took the breath test and failed, the officer will start proceedings for a “per se” suspension. Again, if you do not request a license hearing within ten days, your driver’s license will be suspended for one year on the 31st day after your arrest. However, unlike with a refusal suspension, you could be granted a limit permit.
After your limited permit has expired, you may receive early reinstatement of your license if you complete a DUI School course and pay the $200 reinstatement fee.
The courts place great emphasis on whether someone meets deadlines. If you have been arrested for driving under the influence, it is a good idea to hire an experienced attorney to walk you through the court systems.
Do you think that the administrative license suspension is excessive?